Leboeuf handed advisory role on Telefónica debt refinancing

LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae has sweetened its relationship with Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica, picking up the mandate to advise on its $5.25bn (£2.85bn) acquisition debt refinancing.

The acquisition refinancing through four separate debt securities follows Telefónica’s purchase of UK mobile operator O2 for £17.7bn in March.

Simmons & Simmons advised Telefónica on the acquisition, alongside Clifford Chance. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised O2.

However, Telefónica turned to US-based firm LeBoeuf for advice on the acquisition refinancing. The instruction is justification for LeBoeuf’s burgeoning telecoms practice. LeBoeuf won Telefónica as a client through the company’s relationship with New York-based corporate finance partner Berge Setrakian, who joined the firm from Winston & Strawn in June 2005.

Former Cable & Wireless general counsel Andrew Garrard also joined LeBoeuf’s partnership in London recently to boost its telecoms practice.

London corporate partner Joe Ferraro and New York partner Vladimir Nicenko are leading the team advising Telefónica on the acquisition refinancing. Davis Polk & Wardwell
Madrid-based corporate partner Michael Willisch is leading the team advising underwriters Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers.

Ferraro said: “This acquisition was so large that Telefónica needed to tap the global capital markets. The sheer size of the deal meant it needed to diversify its funding base.”

LeBoeuf’s increasing emphasis on telecoms work links with the firm’s involvement in heavily regulated industries, including the insurance and energy sectors.

“Over the past two years, there has been a renewed focus on this sector for us,” said Ferraro. “We now represent lots of players in the sector with more to come. Watch this space.”